Five ways to boost your email marketing during crisis

Sam-HoldingThis is the age of the customer; especially in these turbulent times, customers have more power than ever before and are now firmly in control of their relationship with the business. With just a 5% increase in customer retention potentially increasing a business’ profitability by 75%, it’s clear why improving customer experience is one of the key areas of focus for marketing departments.

Customer experience has been brought into the epicentre of marketing operations, as the pandemic affects critical KPIs in the business. Many organisations are redirecting their strategy to focus more on customer experience, from both a proactive standpoint and a reactive one. Two key ingredients in this process have been data-driven marketing that enhances customer experience and digital channels that are being used to deliver customer value through personalised messages

For most industry sectors, email marketing is key to customer experience and loyalty. Doing it effectively can have a direct, positive impact not only on sales, but also customer engagement and loyalty. Yet how can an organisation improve its emailing practice during challenging times?

Make it relevant
Like most of us, customers probably receive hundreds of emails every day. Each morning they go through their inbox and screen or prioritise the messages. Content that’s relevant to your customer base is more likely to be read. If your audience is large and diverse, do some segmentation and adjust your content to match each group’s interests and needs.

Make it clear
Data can be a crucial asset for optimising customer experience by making marketing campaigns more relevant, more timely, and ultimately more effective. During a crisis, it’s more important than ever to understand customer data.

Knowing where customers are in their journey can help organisations identify needs and create opportunities for proactive message development. By being proactive and offering helpful information, brands can effectively evangelise their customer-first approach, while demonstrating their ability to understand customer needs with thoughtful messaging.

Be human
Even when it’s generated automatically, email is still a communication stream and, like any other type of communication, it can bring together all the characteristics of human interaction. Emails come packed with expectations. People expect your emails to follow the usual norms and principles of social interactions.

Particularly during the lockdown, it’s essential to keep in mind that your audience is made up of real people – so be friendly, be candid, and use normal language. Organisations must discover how to balance “business as usual” with crisis-sensitive messages. Brands can also use communications tools to send “just because” messages – a positive, uplifting break from the typical doom and gloom.

Invest in proactive outreach
While ramping up a customer service workforce takes time, strategising marketing communications to mitigate the burden on customer experience is something that can be done with speed and efficiency, and provide rapid return.

Clear, informative messaging has the ability to proactively address future confusion and allow for self-troubleshooting. Tightening messaging strategy and content makes it easy to further support your customer-facing workforce by maintaining consistency and minimising confusion as the team engage with customers.

These “front-line” interactions hold a lot of weight for the overall brand and can be the difference between happy customers and confused, unsatisfied ones.

Ask for feedback
No matter how good you are, or how closely you are following your well-designed strategy, there’s always room for improvement. By asking your customers for feedback you can maintain a healthy, open, two-way communication between your organisation and your target audience, while showing that you are willing to adjust and cater to their needs.

Sam Holding is head of international at SparkPost

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